July 20 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 31

When they approach the cleft in the rock, the group hear a kobold voice crying out in common, “Intruders! Intruders are here!” Another, rougher, voice tells the kobold to go and kill them, as it has all the tools it needs, gifts from the cabal, and to stop whining, get it done or their masters will be unhappy. The kobold responds by calling it’s men to arms.

Alerted to the fact there is a platoon of kobolds headed their way, the group take up positions around the cleft, intending to use it as a choke point; Enizeag and Alphonse take front and center, Merri stands to one side to flank and provide healing, and Elo and Drakewing provide ranged support from the back. This quickly falls apart however, as Alphonse, eager to get into the fray, drives forward, with Enizeag and Merri close behind. With their enemy caught in the middle of the cleft, Elo and Drakewing are forced to move forward also. Between them they make short order of this group, but another waits at the tunnel entrance. Suddenly from deep within the cavern on the other side of the cleft a ball of eldritch fire comes forth, flickering purple and electric blue. Enizeag easily moves out of the way, and while Alph is quick on his feet he still gets singed. Unfortunately Merri gets the brunt of the attack, but the ball of flame dissipates by the time it reaches Elo and Drakewing.

‘Slit, slot, hear the bodies drop, and the crossbow twang as the heads go pop!’

Peering through the dimness, Drakewing can see what they thought was the dire woozle but now revealed to be a skeletal dire woozle. Mounted on it’s back is a kobold-sized creature, but where it’s eyes should be are only twin flickerings of flame. Drakewing curses, and tells Elo that it’s a Death Knight sat there, like a wight but with it’s soul bound to an item. He explains to her that it’s sort of like the intelligent blade of Honour, but not.

‘Why do dead, suddenly appear, every time, I am near? Just like me, they long to be, corrupting you!’

Meanwhile Alph and Merri edge back towards Elo and Drakewing, with the intention of encouraging the kobolds to come to them, but the kobolds don’t seem to like this idea, and instead retreat further back into their cavern. Enizeag though has other ideas, and rushes forwards to lay about him, but find instead a group of kobold skeletons waiting for him. After a run-by-healing from Merri, Alph moves forward with the intent to assist Enizeag, but he is too far away to do much. He sheathes his sword and picks up a crappy crossbow from a fallen kobold and uses it on the remaining squishy kobolds as he advances. Merri, Drakewing and Elo all follow him at varying speeds, with Lorcian unleashing a sound burst that shattered the skeletons, including the Death Knight’s mount. Eventually all the skeletons are dead, the remaining kobolds run away and it is just them and the death knight. The two magic users spend their time healing the Knight, sending positive energy scalding into his negatively charged body, while elo hangs back and punches holes in the Knight with her crossbow. But every hit that Enizeag and Aph land seems to do nothing at all. Angry now, Enizeag trips the Knight, sending him to the ground where he suffered a thoroughly ignoble death of being kicked to re-death on the ground.

When they are done pummeling him, they go to investigate the items he had on him, and see he’s wearing kobold-sized black full-plate armour covered in a frosty rime. Clutched in a paw is a spear, that the runes of which fade as he dies. Elo and Merri go to relive the body of these items, and the bone crumbles away to dust. Merri carefully wraps the spear in a cloth and tucks it in her pack with the intention of taking it to the temple for analysis, while Alph, Enizeag and Drakewing collect the remaining kobold heads to cash in at the next way-station.

July 12 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 30

Dinner is had and things are discussed, namely the need of funds, and the need of an honest job. Eventually the group heads to bed, while Elo sorts herself out with some vague clothes made of her borrowed cloak. The next morn they head to the miners guild, as Merri’s Da has suggested since, aside from Lorcian, none of them have a proper profession but Swords-for-Hire, and apparently there is a bit of a kobold infestation.

They find their way into a grad building, and talk to the guildmaster, Grungni Picktooth who greets them with open arms when they tell him why they’re there. He shows them a map covered in red pins, and says they can name their price if they think they can make a dent in the kobolds. Elo says 2gp a head, thinking she’s aiming high, but he readily agrees. They study the map and notice that the knot of the kobolds are around the under tunnels they came from before. Alph mentions the trolls, and Picktooth says if they can bring back a troll head they’ll get 100gp for it. Elo mentions the kobolds they ran into before seemed a whole lot more intelligent than they should be, so maybe there was something behind them, driving and organizing them. She asks if the guildmaster has any enemies, and he mentions a Nori, the head of a miner company that was unhappy with price hikes. Elo nods and says they’ll keep an eye out.

Merri leads them back to the main temple, and they pass one of the high priests who recognises her (is there anyone who doesn’t?) and when he hears of their job, he hands them a satchel of health potions and good wishes.

They head down into the tunnels and are soon met with a multitude of kobolds. They fight their way through, finally beating this part of the horde and take a moment of rest, only to see in the shadows distant a figure hunched over on what can only be another dire woozle, vanishing into the caverns beyond.

July 10 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 29

The group, such as is left, stand around, a bit befuddled for a moment. Alph goes and rummages around in Daraja’s pack, taking his rapier and coin purse.

The rangers look around, as Merri – very upset about her beard – starts at one of them. He holds up his sword, and warns her back, saying he has no idea what just happened, but as far as he knows, they’re still fugitives and he wants to take them back to the city. There are a few harsh words exchanged, but the rangers generally have the upper hand, so Drakewing offers them surrender, so that they can bury the dead, and take Daraja and Stringwhisker’s bodies back to Toreguard. They set about making stretchers and prepare for the long walk back.

Elowen is woken by Captain Withnail bringing her breakfast – bacon, eggs, toast, porridge – but she is hungover and doesn’t want to eat. He tells her that he’s resigned and she is annoyed, but understanding. He tells her there is more for her out in the world, that she should leave Toreguard to rot, and she can’t hide in cell forever. He goes on to mention that he’s left a pack for her, and he’s going to leave the door open for her. She tells him she’s not going anywhere, but all he does is nod, and says he’ll take the key so she can’t lock herself back in.

“There’s nails in here you know! I can just as easily… un-pick the lock, and close it again…”

The party on the road enter the city and are surrounded by city guards. They are allowed to pass through to the Garden of Galana, where Daraja and Stringwiskers are intered. The rangers, not really sure what to do with them, offer to escort them to Drakewing’s house, but a guard gives a meaningful cough, and they are taken back to the north precinct.
They are introduced to the new captain, Leo Tharrus, a quality sort of chap who has a salt-n-pepper tash, white pony tail and glass eye. Some words are exchanged, and he then gives the order for them to be taken downstairs, where they see Elo is still sat in her cell, breakfast mostly gone and door open. When she sees the others she leaps up and starts screaming at them demanding to know what in all the God’s Names they’re doing back, and calling Alph stupid and idiot. Some more harsh words are exchanged, and Elo beats her fists on Alph’s chest. Eventually she calms down, and throws her hands up with a cry of ‘to hell with the lot of us’. Alph says something else to provoke her, and she throws the porridge at the bars and sprays everyone. They are all locked up, and Merri requests her priest. Tharrus agrees, and leaves as Alph continues to argue with Elo, who continues to berate them for coming back and throw crockery at Alph.

Upstairs Enizeag is given his bounty, and is wandering back through the watch house as the priest of Moradin walks through, recognises him, and grabs him as he passes through to talk to the others. Merri starts by admitting she lost the scrolls, and explains what happened. The old priest is surprised after she tells him that there was divine intervention. He becomes excited and examines both Alphonse and Enizeag, and proclaims them to be newly formed and whole, as a child. He says they must find a way to escape, as Moradin wouldn’t have bestowed this blessing on just anyone. They must surely be special and important in some way to his divine plans, and thus can’t be permitted to rot in prison, despite what Elo thinks. He gives them a rousing speech about the job they have before them, to save the city and quite possibly the world along with it, and that they can’t do it from the wrong side of bars.

His time with them comes to an end, and is asked to leave by a watch officer, so the priest takes Enizeag to the Temple of Moradin, gives him some better robes and charges him with not only freeing them from the prison, but their bodily and spiritual safety from now on. Enizeag thinks hard about how he is going to get them out. As the old priest noted, ‘there is no polite way to get it done’. Thinking to cause a distraction and half-sneak them out, he heads to the church of Olidammara and looks for Cece. Unbeknownst to him, she is actually a psychotic duplicitous bitch. She readily agrees to assisting him in causing a ‘distraction’, if it’ll get her little hunnybuns (also known as Alphonse) out of jail.

She requests some bodies from the city morgue, and Enizeag provides them, not too sure about her plan, but unfortunately trusting she knows what she’s doing. Once she’s received them, she begins to raise them and then goes all out crazy-town. She takes them in the hearse he’s ‘borrowed’ and sends them into the North-Gate watch House, shrieking like a banshee, and directs them to slaughter everyone in their path. It’s a bit of a ‘you were only meant to blow the bloody doors off’ situation, but Enizeag the pragmatist takes what he’s got and works with it, making his way down to the jails under the watch house.

Down below the others are surprised to hear the commotion, and are wondering what’s happening, when Enizeag bursts through the door, the cell keys in his hands. he releases them all, and tell them they have to get moving. Elo is reluctant, but before anyone can do anything Tharrus comes running through the door. He shoves it closed behind him, and starts wailing about the undead and the murderous bitch above. All eyes turn towards Enizeag, and someone asks what he’s done. Before he can answer, the door goes flying open and Cece comes through. She greets Alph fondly, gives a nod to the others, and hauls Captain Tharrus to his knees. She says something about the days of people not taking her seriously are at an end, and she snaps the Captain’s neck with about as much remorse as if to a chicken. Elo and Alph cry out, and the others look a little bit sick. Cece taps Alphonse on the bum, and tell him he ought to be on his way now. She turns to Enizeag, thanks him for a fun time and then also indicates they should probably get a shift on. Elo is outraged and says if ever they needed to stay put it was now, but Enizeag encourages her to leave by picking her up. She slips out his grasp, grabs the bag and weapons that Captain Withnail left her, and sulks out.

Upstairs is carnage and both Elo and Alph are appalled. Cece offers no remorse, so Elo tries to sling a dagger in her back but it goes wide. The others are ushered out to the waiting hearse, and Alph and Elo hurry to their offices to check on their partners. They are fine, but shaken. Elo offers thanks they’re fine and tells them she’s so sorry for how all this has turned out. Enizeag picks her up, throws her over a shoulder while she can’t protest, and they all leave Toreguard in the hearse.

Two days on the road to Fangthane and they come across an outpost of three men. It is badly kept and little more than a tower, but they decide to stop to at least give the horse a rest. They meet two of the men, Harold and Henry of the 43rd Company Road Wardens, straight off and they offer to put the kettle on while they chat about why they are on the road. Elo is not happy about how much the others are keen to tell the guards, and wants to move on, but that changes when the third of the Wardens, Anthony, come back. he is rude and disrespectful, and Elo is very keen to put him in his place but the others prudently drag her away before a fight can start.

They continue on towards the gold-capped mountain and eventually come to the border between where the Plains end and Fangthane’s land begins. there is a noticeable difference in upkeep of the two sides, and a few miles in from the border is a small settlement surrounding a dwarfish watch tower. They elect to stop there for the night and rest the horses again. Because it is a bigger settlement, Elo says someone should look after their hearse and volunteers herself. The others reluctantly agree, and vanish into the inn, where they order food and pay for rooms and sabling. They also send someone out to ask Elo what she wants, and initially she is reluctant, as she has no cash but the enthusiastic dwarf says she must have something, so she asks for a cup of tea and some bread. He brings her a thermos and a massive sandwich. As darkness falls Drakewing asks her to come sleep inside but she insists someone should stay with the horse, and so they bring her another thermos of tea and a blanket and let her be. The next morning they purchase some rudimentary arms and armour with what little cash they have on them, and continue on to the mountain.

After another few weeks, they approach the base of Fangthane. The guards tell them they can’t come in, and Merri shows him the letter from the High Priest of Moradin in Toreguard. He peers at her, and says something about her wanting to get out so desperately, now she wants to come back in? but the seal and addressee on the letter convince him, so they open the gates a crack for the hearse to rumble on through. The hearse and horses are subsumed by the mountain and the group is escorted to one of the high priests. The letter is handed over, and read by the dwarf with increasing incredulity, muttering and a final ‘Well. Shit.’ He gives them another speech, this one about iron having to be heated and tempered before it can be an effective weapon. So buoyed, he sends them on to Merri’s folks for some rest and to figure out what the hell they are going to do about the big nasty dragon, and the big nasty leaky portal.

They arrive after having apparently seen everyone who might know Merri in the whole damn mountain, to hugs and beer. They explain what happened and Merri’s mother coos over her while her Dad tells embarrassing stories. Elo says they’re going to need some new gear if they want to take on the whole Drakemar empire, but all she has is the damnable tainted coins from the Emissary. Gruk recoils in horror, but then seems to have a thought. He asks them all out back to his mini-forge while Merri’s Mam finishes dinner. He gets them all to put their tainted gold into a crucible which he heats, and pours the liquid metal into a dagger cast. He says he will fashion it into a killing weapon for them, so they can take out the dragon with his own poison touch. They return to dinner and chat amicably.

July 1 2015

How to piss off a Local in 5 easy steps

This was written in response to a request for holiday horror stories on Teabot’s show. It was well received, and apparently amusing, so I thought I’d share it here too.  The podcast of the show is here, her oration of the list is excellent.

1. Stand in the middle of the street gawking.

Yes, we know the roads are narrow, and the pavements narrower, but they are still roads and cars like to drive down them occasionally without having to honk their horn and risk running you over. Similarly, if you’re going to dawdle your way along said narrow pavements, for the love of gods, do it single file. Some of us live here and are going to be late for work/appointments if you don’t fucking move right now.

2. Feed the wildlife.

Because of course chips are excellent for a seagull’s digestion, and don’t condition it to return day after day to score a free meal, and if it does, of course that won’t bother us natives at all. Not. This goes for any type of wildlife – Horses, cows, pigeons. It’s especially dangerous, for you and the animal, to feed larger beasts. They’ll trot across busy traffic just to see if you have something tasty on you, and if you don’t? Well, horse bites hurt.

3. Ask me for directions.

Okay there’s a caveat to this one; If I’m dawdling along, enjoying the sunshine like you, there’s a good chance I’ll happily give you directions. But if I’m scowling, and in a tearing hurry, I’m more likely to tell you to how to get to the sewage works than I am to send you to the beach.

4. Complain about the lack of mobile signal/ conveniences/ something similar.

You’re in the arse-end of nowhere, love. There’s fuck-all out here but farms and pigs, or the sea and fish. You’re lucky there’s a corner shop. Quit your bitchin’ already.

5. Call where I live quaint.

Stop that shit right now. Especially if it’s been around for less than a hundred years. Stop it. Just no.

June 8 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 28

Drakewing unfortunately becomes entangled, as the rangers all turn and attack Alphonse. Stringwhiskers also succomes as Alphonse attacks them right back. Merry keeps him healed, and Enizeag aims at the main ranger who has been attacking Alph, but misses. Drakewing wrestles with the vines but gets nowhere, and similarly the rangers struggle and hit nothing. Squeaks manages to free himself but his spell still fizzles. Alph hits the rangers again and Merry heals him again. Enizeag has noticed the general trajectory of the arrows from daraja, so he runs around the outside of the entangled zone and gets halfway towards where daraja must be hiding.

The rangers manage to disentangle themselves but are so caught up in that their attacks on Alph fail. Squeaks remains unentangled and hurries to Alph’s side. Alphonse becomes entangled again, but doesn’t manage to get out, and instead gets attacked for his trouble. Merry manages to deliver some more healing for Alph, but finally the rangers notice that she is doing so and starts to attack her instead. Daraja shoots again at Alph. Enizeag covers the distance to another boulder and hides behind it partly, and lets loose a pot-shot at where he sort of thinks that Daraja is. Miraculously he hits Daraja square on, and does him some damage.

Drakewing manages to free himself and scrambles up on the rock he’s hiding behind. Only one of the rangers is able to attack having freed himself, and Squeaks manages to heal Alph. Alph becomes entangled again, but attacks regardless, and manages to take out one of the rangers that has been tormenting him. Merry fails to heal herself. Daraja crawls forward a bit and casts a second entangle to cover Enizeag, who avoids the plants nibley. He can’t see where exactly where Daraja is, but he can see the edge of the entangled zone, so he runs outside of the zone and tries to get another bead on Daraja but fails.

Now Drakewing has gotten on to the rock, he makes an impassioned plea for Daraja to stop this madness and call off the rangers. He mentions there is the greater evil of the unstable seal, and the gates of hell need closing. Daraja is unmoved, but 3 of the rangers think maybe he has a point, and decide not to shoot. Sadly one tries anyway, but fails. Alph manages to get himself free again, but that’s all he can do. Merry manages, finally, to Protect Alphonse.

Meanwhile on the other side of the area, Daraja steps up to Enizeag and whispers ‘shibboleth’ in his ear. The effect is instantaneous – Enizeag freezes under the effect of a Hold Person spell, and Daraja performs a coup de grâce, and sets him on fire. Enizeag dies instantly. Drakewing is furious and cries out for all the killing to stop, he shouts about how Alphonse and Daraja should go one on one, since this is their feud. At that point Daraja shouts back, and the group end up having a loud shouty argument, about how Daraja is persecuted and trying to obey the law and those who say they are lawful are breaking it right, left and center, and how Alph is trying the survive and defend himself. However the wardens show up and start making threats to Daraja that the remainder of the group should be taken back for sentencing. Reluctantly the group down their weapons and the Wardens arrest them all (sans Daraja, obviously). They are cuffed and put into a coach, while Enizeag’s charred corpse is placed on a horse, and they all set off.

As they do, Daraja puts his face through the window of the coach, and whispers “You made your choice!” and breaths fire at them. The coach catches light and the friendly ranger (Viktor) screams that the coach is on fire. There is chaos as Viktor tries to put it out, and Daraja hands him an oil skin, instead of a waterskin instead. Viktor shouts at Daraja, but Daraja bluffs and laments what he’s done. Two of the rangers believe daraja, but one extra is on the group’s side. All the warden’s horses buck and kill them, so there is only one person still actively working for Daraja, but the other rangers don’t believe him and are sitting to one side confused. The group break out of the burning coach, and Drakewing, Alphonse and Merry are fine..ish and not on fire. Stringwhiskers however lands in a pile of burnt fur and dies. Daraja shoots at alphonse and he passes out. Then Daraja shoots at Merry and badly wounders her, but she rolls to her knees and Prays. Something moves within and there is a flash of light as Enizeag takes a gasp of air. He rolls off his panicked horse and stands shimmering with divine light and anger. Moradin gives Merry a curt nod as he winks in and out again. Alph also takes a gasping breath. Daraja shouts at his men to attack them, but still only one obeys. Daraja moves to close the distance and attacks Enizeag with his rapier. Meanwhile, Drakewing goes to heal Merry, who is exhausted and badly hurt, and Alph runs to close the distance between him and daraja.

Enizeag tries to hit Daraja but misses and seeing this, another ranger changes his mind back, and the two rangers attack, but also miss. Alph makes it to the party, and prays to Moradin who grants him some temporary health to deal with Daraja. He fails to hit the woodling. Daraja takes a step back and breaths fire over the two, hurting them more and setting them on fire. Enizeag goes to give him a grapple, but they end up holding each other.

Drakewing finds the keys for the manacles and frees himself and Merry. Alph tries to strangle Daraja but Daraja is too small and slips out of his grip, but then Enizeag manages to land a punch and Alph cracks him on the head. The rangers shoot Merry and almost kill her, but she manages to claw back some health with a spell. Enizeag manages to land another punch, and now Daraja is very very badly hurt. Alph swings and misses, Merry picks up a bow to shoot, but misses Daraja. Daraja aims at Enizeag and hits, and Enizeag pummels him in return. Drakewing aims with the bow, but misses. Alph then lands the final smack down, and Daraja finally lays knocked out at his feet.

June 1 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 27

While all the stuff has been going on, Einzige returns to the Dappled Unicorn and receives 300gp – 100 from the innkeeper, and 200 from the lord who offered to double the innkeeper. He sits down with his free pint, and keeps an ear out for further work.

Daraja, in an attempt to find out where the others have Alphonse holed up, heads to Drakewing’s house, and talks to the housekeeper Mrs Wilkins, who tells him that the group have left town suddenly. He finds this curious and sets out to find them. His options to get more information about where they may have gone, he thinks, are to speak to someone at the Slippery Slope, or to speak to Cece. Since the Theater is closer, he heads there, and finds Cece outside, hankie in hand. She tells him that the group have left town, and are aiming for Stonebridge, and asks him to bring Alphonse back to her.

With assurances he will, Daraja heads back to the Northgate Precinct Watchhouse to speak to Captain Eric Withnail. Daraja informs the Captain, that not only has Alph skipped town, but Elo has helped him. The Captain is outraged, and gives Daraja a license of bounty to retrieve Alphonse and Elowen dead or alive.
Flush with the prospect of hunting down his former comrades, Daraja heads out to finds his trainee rangers, and collects eighteen of them to take with him on his mission. Daraja then finds out where Enizege is drinking, and after a word with his network, he heads to the Dappled Unicorn and speaks with the half-orc. Enizege considers for a moment and says he will join Daraja’s team.

Meanwhile back on the road, the remainder of the group come across Uncle Jared. They come to a halt and ask if he needs a ride. While they are talking, Elo says she needs to pee. She has been going over the mess she’s made of everything in her head while they’re on the road, and has decided she will return to the city and face the music, but won’t tell say anything because she doesn’t want the others to try and stop her.
Uncle Jared says he is surprised to see them, but after hearing their tale, he agrees to go with them and take them to a chapel of St Cuthbert in Stonebridge. while they are talking Elo slips away and makes a run for it. Jared says she probably has some things to work out, so they carry on without her, Meredith sure that the woodling will return to them at some point.

As she flees back to the city, Elowen sees an approaching coach, and regardless of who it is, she decides to hide. She leaps and tumbles over a rock intending to hide, but as she does so, she notices that one of the riders on the coach is Daraja, so she comes to a defensive crouch, and draws her crossbow, aiming for him. Unfortunately she misses, and hits the coach instead. Daraja has also noticed her, and as the coach draws level, he looses an arrow back at her, using a sleep arrow, and hits. Elo goes down, but fortunately for her, before Daraja can get to her, Einzige catches hold of her. Daraja says to strip her of her equipment, which Einzige does so, and ties her up. Daraja orders her taken back to the city. She is given over the Head Road Warden, a man called Jessop, and they head back to the city. Daraja then orders some of the Road Wardens and the rest of his group to carry on after the coach, and they do so, with the Wardens going on ahead.

The Wardens catch up to the coach, and the group warn them to stay back, saying they are a prisoner transport, but the Warden’s don’t believe them, as Daraja has shown them his writ. Jared climbs on top of the coach as they are traveling and gives them fair warning, not to mess with the group, but still the Wardens persist, so Jared fights them. From behind, Daraja’s cart has caught up, and he shoots over their heads and hits one of the horses. The pair of horses buck and bolt in opposite directions, pulling the yoke that binds them, and shattering it. the coach goes over on it’s side skidding to a stop. The Warden’s call for the group to come out of the coach with their hands raised, but of course they are disinclined to do so, so instead Uncle Jared climbs out and covers for them. Jared calls out that he’s seen Daraja’s like before, and Daraja counters with a request for Jared to turn aside. Jared responds with a mini-rant about how people like Daraja use the system to hide behind, and finishes it up with ‘I’ve scraped things off my boots with more credibility than you!’. He runs forward, but Daraja has his rangers turn him into a pincushion. Alphonse screams out, as Squeaks casts a pall of darkness to cover their escape, and Meredith hauls on the grief stricken Alphonse. Under cover of the confusion they run, and Merry pulls them off the road.

Finally Elowen and Jessop reach Toreguard. She asks if he minds allowing her to walk into the watchhouse on her own. He asks her name, and she gives it. Jessop recognises her by reputation, and he says he will grant her that. They have a brief conversation about poor choices and Doing The Right Thing, and she bids him good night. Elo gathers the cloak he’s loaned her, and walks into the station, to the confused stares of some of her colleagues.

She goes straight to the captain’s office. as she walks in he greets her with a confused look of his own, that soon turns to understanding as she quietly and calmly gets to her knees and places her hands behind her head, and places herself under arrest. The captain takes it in his stride, and escorts her, in cuffs, down to the cells. She protests that she should be put with the other prisoners, but Captain Withnail tells her that it’s his choice and is she arguing with a superior officer? She says no, and they continue. He locks her in the cell with a bottle of wine, and takes a seat outside. She tries to tell him all the horrible stuff she believes she’s done, and that she should no longer have her rank, but he persists in calling her Sergeant. He asks where the group are now, and she tells him they were on their way to stonebridge. She insists that it isn’t them that he wants, that she was behind everything, but he won’t listen, instead he laments at the state of affairs – that he asked rashly and in anger at sending Daraja off to take Alph down. Withnail then tells her a story about how he sent his own wife to the executioner’s block because she spoke out against the Drakemar empire, and the Emissary told him to do so. Elo is stunned, but at the end of the tale, she again insists that he stop calling her by her rank. He says no, that he will not accept her resignation – instead, come the morning, she will be accepting his. Elo asks if he’s planning on doing anything stupid, because there’s clearly plenty of stupid to go around tonight. He says, no, he’s going to make things right, and bids her good night. She calls after him, demanding to know what he’ll do, but again he just says he’ll see her in the morning and leaves her in a state.

Back on the road, the fight has been taken into the long grass. The warden’s are still stumbling around in the black pall cast by Stringwhiskers, but Daraja has managed to drive through it and out the other side. They have paused to put Jared’s body onto the wreckage of Olidemmara’s coach, and have set fire to it, in what Daraja refers to as a funeral pyre. His men do not seem so convinced, but do as they are told anyway.

The remainder of the group have hidden themselves, but Daraja has sent his men to surround them on one side, while he creeps around the back. At first the group don’t want to attack, however soon Daraja and his rangers don’t give them much choice. So Alpha hurries into the fray and takes out half the rangers in one swoop. But as Daraja is hidden behind them, he shoots at Alph and does him considerable damage. Merry hurries out of hiding and heals Alphonse. Meanwhile squeaks has managed to charm someone and Drakewing dazed another in the second group of Rangers. At the same time Einzige has put a bullet in another ranger. All the while Daraja has been attacking from a hidden point behind them. Suddenly he makes the grass twitch and it entangles their feet…

May 25 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 26

Daraja and Drakewing head to the watch house, and start discussing with the Captain Alph’s attack on him in the barrow. Daraja tells him what happened, with Drakewing trying to give a moderate voice of reason, and the Captain asks if Daraja is pressing charges, at which Daraja says he is. The Captain yells for his second, and starts to arrange things and asks for the remainder of the group to be apprehended on entrance to the city. Again, Drakewing tries to provide the voice of reason, but the Captain is too irate to listen much, and is very upset that one of his officers would have stuck a citizen. Daraja is told to find a lawyer and to call upon the priest of Pelor regarding the attack. They are told that Alph will be assigned council and the matter will go straight to trial.
Daraja asks for a word alone with the captain, and Drakewing leaves, but doesn’t really know what to do with himself, so loiters and eavesdrops a bit. Daraja tells the Captain that he knows that there has been an investigation into his past actions, as confirmed by Elo. the Captain is upset by her actions, but adds that she does that often, usually for the greater good. Daraja goes on to say that he is concerned about the Watch’s reputation given all that’s happened. The Captain says he appreciates Daraja’s concerns and assures him that things will come out as they must.

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May 18 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 25

The fat man utters some more words. The men who are still alive seem to sucome from the sickness, and then all the dead begin to rise again, shedding their flesh to become skeletons. The group manage to take out both them, and the fat man. With him down, Alph runs to get men to form a cordon around the yick, and obtain torches, and drakewing goes to the garden of galana to asks the druids for their help in purifying the area. On his way through, he mentions the mess to the guards on duty and they send a runner to the army. While they are gone Daraja opens one of the crates to have a look, and in one sees a load of empty glass flasks and vials. Elo opens another and sees this one had glass flasks filled with slimy goop, much like what was produced when the men died. They both take a few of the glass vials for various reasons, just as Alph comes back with Watchmen.

While Drakewing is at the garden of Galana the druids mention they seem to be having trouble contacting their goddess, and they feel something is moving beneath the city, but when he mentions the mess, they hurry right over.

The watchmen form a perimeter around the area, and begin to hurl torches onto the mess, but all that seems to do is make the yick bubble and spit. Alph orders them to move back out of it’s reach, but Elo sees some of her men succum to the illness, so she shoots them with mercy.

When the Galana Druids arrive they cover over the yick with a thorn bush, but seem really drained after doing it. They walk back with Daraja as escort, and as they get to the garden and find that the whole place seems dead. They go to the scrying pool at the back to find it drained, and the Druids’ staffs begin to shatter into dust and blood seeps from their eyes. They tell Daraja to run, so he does, and goes to Obedhime. Their garden, while not exactly affected, does come across as darker and more foreboding than usual. Daraja asks a tree what’s going on, and it shows him a face that says they have felt the same peculiar blanketing with access to their god. It entreats him to go to a unaffected church for assistance, so he hurries to the church of Pelor.

Meanwhile, Drakewing tells the others what the Galana druids said about restricted access to their god. Elo asks if Merry is okay, and she says she is. With the pool of mank covered over, they leave a token set of watchmen to keep the perimeter, and lead those that may have caught the plague to the temple of Moradin for purification and healing.

At the temple of Pelor, Daraja meets a man, Corven Hobbs, who says he’s an archeologist. Even though the man is a bit peculiar, Daraja tells him about the plague, and that he’s looking for a priest, but the man says he ‘s been studying a Death Priest artifact that might be behind the problem, and offers to lead him to a place outside the city where it lies. Daraja agrees to the plan, and says the group will meet him at the North gate in order to investigate this. While the man goes back to collect his scrolls, Daraja then goes to find the high Priest. The Priest vouches for Hobbes, and when Daraja tells him about the blight on Glana and Obedhim, and the plague, the Priest offers to send clerics to the site and fix things. Daraja says it seems targeted and the Priest agrees that maybe the Order of Nerull that has it out for him. With a final pledge of assistance from Pelor, Daraja leaves and goes to find the others, telling them about Hobbes and the artifact. They agree this sounds like a plan, and after meeting Hobbes at the gate, they travel out to find an ancient barrow.

They enter the barrow, and Elo asks Merry to check the stone for stability. She says some of the ‘stone’ looks like glamoured plaster, and goes to look at it, when Elo notices a trap. Unfortunately Merry activates it and a bunch of skeletons come through the plaster-work and attack them. The group do away with them easily enough but are more cautious going forward. They follow the barrows twists and turns, finding – but not activating – a few more traps, of the same style.

Eventually they come to a large room, at the end of which is a raised dais with a sarcophagus on it. Carefully elo checks it out, with guidance from Hobbs. they release the lid, and Alph swings it open. Inside lies a mummified figure with an iron crown. Hobbs reaches for the crown and holds it in his hands, before Elowen can check for traps. As he does so, he starts to grow feathers, and change into a half-raven form, and also starts cackling about how the prophet of Vecnar will reward him, and such things. Elo starts ordering him to put it down, and for a moment everyone is shouting at once, then suddenly Daraja leaps up and snaches the crown out of Hobbs hands. Elo shoots at Hobbs, injuring him in the side, and Alph turns and drives his axe into Daraja’s side, releasing a bolt of lighting from it. Daraja takes the crown and runs away, but Elo calls for him to stop. Daraja says clearly Alphonse has been possessed or something, but he is not hanging around with the evil crown to find out, and he’s going to take it to the wizards to destroy. Elo sends Stringwhiskers to keep and eye on him, but the rat refuses, preferring to stay with her, so Drakewing goes instead.

Daraja and Drakewing hurry back to the city, and head straight for the wizards’ tower, where once Daraja has explained the situation, the wizards destroy the crown. With that, Daraja heads off to the city watchhouse, to make a formal complain about Alphonse.

Back in the barrow, Alphonse seems like he intends to go after Daraja, but Elo says she needs his help with Hobbs, but Alph seems away with the pixies. She tries to place the birdman under arrest, and demands he explain himself, but he resists. Between the three of them, they knock Hobbes out, truss him up, and while Stringwhiskers guards him, Merry and Elo try to get Alph to focus on the present, and carrying Hobbes back to the city. He gibbers and mutters and it’s pretty clear he’s gone coo-coo for kaka-puffs, but they do manage to get him to take an arm. With Merry on the other side and Stringwhiskers and Elo on the feet, between them they manage to carry Hobbes out of the barrow and back to the city.

As the crown is destroyed, everyone within a several mile-radius feels a kind of shiver.

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May 16 2015

Second Titan Adventure

It was here that the party finally split. After two years of fighting the forces of evil together, the party disbanded, Richard intent on his crusade against all lizzard folk, Bast and Victor intent on vanishing into the seedyness that is Port Blacksands and Alexis, at a loss, ran from the whole mess.

Skipping forward some 3 months and Alexis has found herself summoned to castle dire by the wizards who have now taken it as their home and place of governance. She is introduced to Hextor Francis who becomes her new ‘party’ and they are shown the results of Richard’s crusade: he is dead as are most of his men, and the evil spawn of the south are rising again. The pair are told of an army encroching to the south, their intent to take over castle dire. And so again, Alexis is cast into the fray, with a new party, to halt the oncoming rush of evil. Along the way the new team:

* Kill an entire army, using a demonic poison slug thing
* Return to liberate various places from Alexis’ past such as Firetop mountain and Troll Tooth Pass [and another flesh golem, Five point Six]
* Find themselves pitted against Alexis’ old and fallen comrades
* Discover that Xagor is still alive [sort of], in the demon planes, and is hell-bent on destroying Alexis – body and soul
* Find themselves back in Toragard, with the assistance and allegiance of one copper dragon named Kipris
* Watch Alexis manage to disintegrate herself and then be resurected as an Owl
* Discover people don’t much like Flesh Golems or talking owls…
* Find the entrance to a portal into a demon dimension and go and kick Xagor’s ass for the last and final time
* Return triumpant to Toragard, get wasted, and find a wizard [by the grace of greg] to change Alexis back into a woodling again.

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May 11 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 24

After having helped the cops finish their arrests of the theater people, Enizeag decides to go get a drink. there’s a place he’s just heard of, around the corner from Drakewing’s place called the Dappled Unicorn, a middle class coaching inn. The bartender, an ex-body builder, draws Enizeag a pint and engages him in chit-chat, elaborating on an odd man who’s been pinching coaches. The barkeeper also mentions some strange figures darting around with tatty cloaks, that leave an odd smell in their wake. Enizeag say he’ll look into it and as he eats his meal, he listens to some of the conversations around, and notices a portly lordly type watching him. Enizege goes to have a word with him, and after a conversion where the chap introduces himself as Hanrsel Freitsbeirgr, and suggests that he might have a tip for Enizeag regarding the missing coaches. he offers some more cash for the sorting out of the issue. There’s a place on the west of town, he says, called 12 Albert Bay, recently purchased and turned into a park by a mysterious buyer, but that has acquired some unsavoury squatters. Enizeag says he knows it as one of Daraja’s places. The man is very excited that Enizeag knows Daraja. They finish their meal and Enizeag goes to look into the problem, and heads to find Daraja.

Alph leaves the house after his conversation with Cece, and heads to the watch house. On his way he thinks he sees something in the shadows, but pays it no mind, and then hears a bottle breaking and a curse. He goes to take a look and sees a glimpse of someone ducking behind a barrel. It’s cece. Ze is wearing revealing leather armour, and says xe is going to become an adventurer with the party, and says she ‘almost’ managed to creep on Alph. Alph says that he needs to confer with the rest of the group, and that he’s really busy, and starts to walk away. Cece is obviously annoyed at this, and tries to hold person on him. Alph is annoyed, but then sighs and takes her along to the watch house with him.

The moment they get into the watch house, the Captain starts yelling for Alph, then sees Cece. The Captain stops and panics, and then pulls Alph into his office. He tells alph to get Cece out of the station, and then tells Alph to get out of his office. Once he is clear of whatever the Captain was going to start shouting at him Alph finds Elo, who took Cece to meet Irvin. They have a quiet conversation without Cece, and Elo asks what Daraja has been up to. Irvine says the his rats followed Daraja to the home of Argonim Prospero, a wizard who is not “registered”, and who apparently specializes in curses. It seems that daraja has been in talks with this person. Elo warns the pair of them to keep everything on the super down-low and that any case brought against him needs to be absolutely concrete and water tight.
They agree, she also gives Irvine permission to take anyone he needs. While Alph and Cece go back to Drakewing’s house, so Cece can fix the massive hole in Alph’s armour, Elo goes to have a word with Farren. She apologizes to him, because she thinks she’s gotten her promotions ahead of him, and thinks it’s wrong, but he’s chilled about it all – says it’s fine – so she gives him some cash to buy himself some more baccy for his pipe, and heads back to join the other’s at the house.

By the time she gets there, Alphonse and Cece have gotten his armour fixed, and Cece has managed to piss off Meridith.
The group gather in the sitting room as there seems to be a few points of business needing to be discussed.
First up is Alphonse, who broaches the subject of Cece being made a part of the group, and they finally decide that is a terrible idea, not because of who and what she is, or her god or her talent, but because of her reactions to things. they think she’d be a liability, and try to figure out how to let her down gently. It doesn’t go quite as planned, but nothing catches alight or explodes so, it’s chalked up as a win.
Next up is Daraja and his package. He says he bought the group a load of magical rings, defence of the first level, and had to sell his mansion to do so. Elo and Alph seem a bit disturbed, knowing that the rings came from someone who specializes in curses, but after an angry confrontation, and a brief chat they all accept the rings. Elo apologies, and they move onto the third order.
Enizeag tells the group about his chat with the barman and the incident with the coaches. When darja gets annoyed that people are using his land for sketchy shenanigans they decide they should look into it. They take the ‘watchmen and disgruntled land owner’ angle, to which the men they encounter react poorly and then the fight starts.

The men start to attack, and of course the group defend themselves, with an aim to subdue and arrest, rather than kill. Unfortunately Alph is just a little too good, and ends up killing several of the men, as does Enizeag , and Daraja. Elo ko’s two, and as Enizeag grapples and throws the last one, Stringwhiskers does something and the man seems to look around wondering where he is.
The fat, sick-looking boss man is nowhere to be seen, but a horrible smoke emanates from the tent where he was standing. The confused man submits to Elo arresting him, but then starts to writhe and falls to his knees, and then vomits blood in front of her. They all back up as the other workers left alive start to do the same and chanting can be heard coming from the tent. Elo shoots at the man inside and gets a hit, but Enizeag takes might offense and throws a torch at it, setting it on fire in an explosion. A tide of yick comes out just as Merry identifies the spell as being a Contagion spell, specifically to bring plague, and they back up further as the fat man comes running out of the tent on fire.

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